I ordered my first Kate Spade purse online two weeks ago. I have never been one to find materialistic things overly gratifying; however, for whatever the reason, this particular purse kept popping into my head even after I tried to dismiss it for days. With much excitement (and a little buyer’s remorse), I took the plunge and completed the order.
The buttery soft beige Kate Spade satchel came to my doorstep the day after Kate Spade died in an apparent suicide. The handbag was neatly wrapped, beautifully presented. Emptying the bag I have carried for years, I began to transfer all my little sundries into my new purse. In doing so, I couldn’t help but have a deflating feeling like the air escaping from a party balloon.
My anticipation and excitement for this treat waned in the thought of the pain this woman underwent. The Kate Spade brand is known for “crisp color, graphic prints and playful sophistication.” Yet, the woman behind the brand was clouded in shadows. Her husband, Andy Spade, remarked in a statement that “Kate suffered from anxiety and depression for many years” and “there was no indication and no warning that she would do this. It was a complete shock.”
One thing Mr. Spade noted grabbed my attention: “There were personal demons she was battling.”
As I write, I become aware of another suicide. Within the same week of Kate Spade taking her own life, CNN’s Anthony Bourdain at age 61 has been found dead; cause of death — suicide. I immediately think of Andy Spade’s words and realize this hauntingly singular truth: each of us has personal demons we battle.
I remember reading Billy Graham’s thoughts upon suicide as I was asked years ago if someone who commits suicide goes to hell. Graham noted that suicide is not the unforgivable sin. “Rather, it is deliberately resisting the Holy Spirit’s witness and invitation to turn to Jesus until death ends all opportunity.”
Yes, unfortunately, some who feel trapped in thick shadows may become void of hope. They see their despair as a set painting rather than a fluid scene which changes with time itself.
Believers and nonbelievers commit suicide. Rich and poor. Young and old.
CNN posted, “U.S. suicide rates increased more than 25% since 1999, according to research published Thursday (06.07.18) by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” Interestingly enough, “the National Violent Death Reporting System, showed that 54% of those who committed suicide in 2015 did not have a known mental health condition.”
Suicide can happen in anyone’s circle. Anyone’s circle.
I am thankful that the grace of God extends into our desperate hours. No, the finality of suicide should never be considered a viable solution to temporary problems. And all of life’s problems are temporary! But we can rest assured that if someone has committed their life to Christ, they are with him forever.
So the tragedy is not so much in questioning where someone is after suicide but wondering who they could have been if light had pierced through their darkness. If they had reached out and accepted help on their battlefield, would the outcome be different? Would their demons have been subdued or slayed?
Hope. I believe this is the key word for the over 50% who commit suicide with no known mental illness.
Where does hope come from?
“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him” (Romans 62:5).
May we be gentle with ourselves and others. May we boldly ask questions that keep us tapped into loved ones, even to the point of risking being too personal. And may we ask God to keep us watchful and open to seeing needs and offering steady and sincere encouragement.
I will think differently of this Kate Spade purse which now has taken the place of my old favorite hobo bag. It will remind me to step outside of myself and shine his light and love wherever I go. It will remind me that most people are fighting demons on battlefields that we don’t see. And as I hold it near to me, I will be reminded to hold hope closer than fear… to be bold in faith and to be truly thankful for God’s grace.
SGLY, dear reader.
(Smile, God Loves You.)
Tiffany Kaye Chartier is a Christian author and opinion columnist. Submit feedback and connect for more soul lifts on Facebook: Tiffany Kaye Chartier, Instagram: @tiffanysgly, and Twitter: @tiffanychartier.